JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Federal officials are allowing a scenic helicopter business to resume flights in Jackson Hole despite opposition.
Wind River Air owner Tony Chambers plans to continue flights no later than early summer following a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“I was pleased, but I was also expecting exactly that,” Chambers told the Jackson Hole News&Guide.
The Jackson Hole Airport board has acknowledged an obligation to accommodate Wind River Air but has also tried to find a way to slow or stop the business venture amid opposition from a variety of groups including the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and National Parks Conservation Association.
The commercial airport within Grand Teton National Park is one of the busiest in Wyoming. Opponents worry about helicopter noise in places including the Leidy Highlands and Jedediah Smith Wilderness just west of Grand Teton.
“Really, there are just three entities that can change any future action here,” longtime airport board member Jerry Blann said. “That’s Congress, the FAA and the applicant.”
Opponents vow to keep fighting the tours. They include Joe Albright, a ranch owner who addressed the airport board Monday.
“I believe that if enough of us stay active in opposing high-elevation scenic tours, then the community will ultimately get the FAA or Congress or the courts to make a much more careful evaluation of the pros and cons of allowing high-elevation scenic tours,” Albright said.